Great Debate

‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ vs. ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’

More stories from Emilee Wentland

Timothy Spierings

More stories from Timothy Spierings


Charlie Brown

I’m a sucker for the classics.

No matter how many times I watch Charlie Brown try to kick that football only to fall flat on his back (all thanks to Lucy and her empty promises), I still enjoy it. Lasting only 25 minutes, the now 52-year-old Halloween special packs in the timeless jokes based off the “Peanuts” comic strip.

Without “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” the world would never have been blessed with quotes such as “Never jump into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker” or “Oh, I didn’t know you were gonna kill it,” when Lucy shows her brother, Linus, how to carve a pumpkin.

When I was still living at home, I would watch Charlie Brown every October with my family. Still, every year, I look forward to when it comes on ABC so I can sit back, grab some Halloween candy and enjoy the show.

For those who have not seen the wonder that is the Charlie Brown Halloween special, the gist of it is that one of the characters, Linus, believes in an entity known as the “Great Pumpkin.” Each year the Great Pumpkin visits a pumpkin patch and gifts the “believers” with gifts. Essentially, he’s a spooky Santa Claus. Everyone makes fun of Linus for not wanting to go out for trick-or-treating and the big Halloween party after.

The rest of the Peanuts gang sans Sally, who wanted to hang out with her crush, Linus, in the pumpkin patch heads out for trick-or-treating. This leads to my favorite part in the episode, where Charlie Brown who is wearing a sheet covered in way-too-many holes to still be considered a ghost costume somehow gets a rock as his treat at every house.

“I got a rock,” he’ll say each year, followed by my inevitable giggles.

Charlie Brown — in all his holiday endeavors — is an essential Halloween special in my book. The family-friendly jokes and timeless characters make this a must-watch for just about anyone. I know I’ve convinced my friends to watch it with me come Halloween.

Being a child at heart, I fully support Linus in his mythical Halloween endeavors and I think that’s why the episode resonates with me on the level it does. At 21 years old, I still voice my belief in Santa Claus, so how could I not support someone who believes in the Great Pumpkin?

Regardless of how many horror movies and Disney Channel Halloween movies I watch, Charlie Brown with always be my favorite. (Besides, who wants to listen to all that singing in “The Nightmare Before Christmas”?)

Emilee Wentland, Editor-in-chief

Nightmare Before Christmas

What does it take to make a good seasonal movie? It takes cinema art, spooky details and lots of musical numbers, that’s what. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” delivers.

I can say, without a doubt, it is the best holiday movie ever. I can actually say this twice a year because not only does it qualify a Halloween movie, but also a Christmas movie. How cool is that?

What do High School Musical, Mamma Mia and The Greatest Showman some amazing and iconic movies have in common? That’s right, musical numbers. The audience is handed bops and bangers left and right in this movie.

Any Halloween playlist without “This Is Halloween” is severely lacking the necessary spook level.

Can we also talk about the skill it took to make this movie? There are some skin crawling and ghoulish effects that I just adore. It’s all stop motion, yet I’m always awed by how fluid the characters move about the story to create an immersive experience.

I can’t get enough of the characters, either. Jack Skellington is one of the best children’s characters I’ve ever seen. He’s silly, we see that with his grandeur personality and childlike wonder when he finds Christmas Town. But, he’s also flawed, and he manages to learn from his mistakes for everyone’s sake.

Also, the efforts of the townspeople to help Jack with Christmas by making the children’s toys is kind of adorable. Sure they may have scared a few kids and their parents, but their hearts were in the right place.

They meant well, but they just didn’t understand what the kids are into these days. Who can blame them?

Every good kid’s movie has some adult references too. It always makes me laugh now that I understand what they mean all these years later. I remember being so confused by why the Mayor was so anxious all the time.

“Jack, please! I’m only an elected official here, I can’t make decisions by myself!”

I feel you, buddy.

The ultimate reason that I love “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is that it can be mindlessly funny if you let it. It doesn’t shy away from being creepy or eerie, but it still has dark humor that both kids and adults can appreciate. I’ve watched this movie many times with friends during my life and it never, ever gets old.

Also, I will never stop worshipping the Drama Queen that is Jack Skellington. Popping off his head to recite Shakespeare? Iconic.

Lauren Spierings, Staff Writer